Pima County issues air pollution advisory for Friday

Air pollution in the Tucson metro area, including moderate concentrations of ground-level ozone, prompted an
advisory Friday from Pima County that some residents should avoid intense physical
outdoor activity.

Residents who are “especially sensitive” should limit how much they exert themselves outside
between noon and 6 p.m., county officials said, issuing an “Ozone Action Day” notice.

“Individuals who are especially
sensitive to air pollution may experience shortness of breath, coughing,
throat irritation, wheezing and breathing discomfort,” Department of
Environmental Quality officials said. “Intense physical outdoor activity causes heavier breathing, which allows ozone to penetrate deeper in the lungs.”

PDEQ detected moderate amounts
of ground-level ozone in the Tucson metro area’s air. Ground-level ozone
commonly comes from car exhaust, industrial and power plant emissions
and volatile organic compounds, or hydrocarbons, that react with heat
and sunlight, PDEQ said.

People who might be sensitive to ozone
include children, adults who are active outdoors, people with
respiratory diseases and certain individuals who have an unusual
sensitivity to this particular pollutant, PDEQ said. Anyone feeling
symptoms should seek medical attention, the advisory warns.

PDEQ recommended the following actions to reduce adding to ground-level air pollution:

  • Reduce driving – combine errands into one trip
  • Ride the bus, walk, bike, or share a ride with friends and family
  • Avoid idling your vehicle’s engine
  • Re-fuel your car after dark or during cooler evening hours when vapors are less likely to form ozone
  • While re-fueling, always stop at the click
  • Make sure your gas cap is tightly sealed after re-fueling
  • Avoid using gas-powered lawn and gardening equipment
  • Check your tire pressure monthly and keep tires properly inflated for peak performance
  • Conserve electricity to reduce emissions from power plants
  • Use low-VOC or water-based paints, stains, finishes, and paint strippers and ensure that they are sealed properly

PDEQ’s Clean Air Program educates residents about the potential health effects associated with elevated levels of air pollution and promotes actions to reduce it.

PDEQ monitors air pollution across the region at 16 sites. Real-time air pollution levels are available online.

You can sign up to receive Air Pollution Action Day advisories via email and text messages.